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16 Dec 2004 : Column 1306W—continued

Telephone Costs

Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the estimated cost to his Department of unauthorised personal calls made by members of staff to (a) domestic numbers and (b) international numbers was in the last year for which figures are available. [202186]

Maria Eagle: This information is not available.

Pensioners (Perth)

Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the total number of (a) pensioners and (b) pensioner households in Perth constituency. [205446]

Malcolm Wicks: In winter 2003–2004 there were 11,940 pensioner households in the parliamentary constituency of Perth, accounting for 16,390 pensioners.


Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer to the hon. member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire of 9 December 2004, Official Report, column 664W, on pensions, what the proportions are in each (a) region and (b) local authority area in Scotland. [205528]

Malcolm Wicks: The information requested is in the table:
in each local
authority or Region
Percentage of relevant population in each local authority or RegionPopulation
in each local
authority or Region
Percentage of relevant population in each local authority or Region
Aberdeen City11,50087.311,90049.3
Argyll and Bute5,80078.66,40049.1
The Scottish Boarders7,90089.67,70050.3
West Dumbartonshire5,20091.76,30054.8
Dumfries and Galloway10,90085.510,30047.3
Dundee City8,80084.910,40053.9
East Ayrshire7,30089.98,20054.8
East Dumbartonshire6,60088.25,80042.9
East Lothian6,50097.05,80048.5
East Renfrewshire5,70096.85,70050.9
City of Edinburgh23,70086.525,30048.9
Glasgow City28,40084.837,30054.6
North Ayrshire8,20088.08,40047.9
North Lanarkshire16,60089.718,10050.6
Orkney Islands1,500100.01,40055.9
Perth and Kinross10,60097.18,70045.6
Shetland Isles1,20092.21,00041.1
South Ayrshire7,70084.98,60052.7
South Lanarkshire18,80097.917,80045.8
West Lothian7,90096.26,70044.2
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar1,30058.51,60040.6

1. Figures are taken from a 5 per cent. sample and are therefore subject to a high degree of sampling variation.
2. Data is rounded to the nearest 100. Totals may not sum due to rounding.
3. Local authorities are assigned by matching postcodes against the relevant Office for National Statistics postcode directory.
4. Population figures are taken from mid-2003. Percentages shown as 100 may actually have been calculated as slightly higher than 100 i.e. the benefit caseload is apparently at least as high, if not higher, than the corresponding population figure.
5. The relevant population refers to all males aged 65 and above and females aged 60 and above living in the specified areas.
6. A full basic State Pension (£77.45 in 2003–04) is paid to those who fully satisfy the contribution conditions either in their own right or where applicable, on the basis of their late or former spouse's contributions.
1. IAD Information Centre, 5 per cent, sample as at 31 March 2004.
2. The Population data sources are the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the General Register Office, Scotland (GROS).

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Video Conferencing

Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many video conferencing units are installed in (a) the Department and (b) each agency of the Department; what percentage of offices have these
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facilities in each case; and what plans there are to increase the number. [202189]

Maria Eagle: There are currently 213 video conference (VC) units installed across the Department. A breakdown by building and agency is in the following table.
Business/agencyNumber of buildingsNumber of
VC units installed
Number of buildings
with VC unit installed
Percentage of
buildings with facilities
Disability and carers service1517960
Debt management9000
The appeals services33151236
Jobcentre plus1,33633232
The pensions service102614140
Corporate and shared services109803734

1. Some buildings are occupied by more than one business unit so may have been counted more than once.
2. There are plans for a further 14 VC units in Jobcentre Plus, and other parts of the Department are considering the wider use of videoconferencing

Winter Fuel Payment

John Thurso: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the number of eligible people who have not received backdated winter fuel payments for the first three years of the scheme, broken down by region. [204746]

Malcolm Wicks: It is not possible to estimate with confidence how many people were eligible for backdated payments for the first three years of the scheme. Our working assumption was that about 1.9 million people could have been eligible of whom about 1.2 million have now been paid. There is no cut off date for these retrospective payments.



Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what services are available from the national health service for patients with asthma and allied disorders; [203816]

(2) how many people suffer from asthma and allied disorders; [203817]

(3) how many people were treated by the national health service for asthma and allied disorders in the last year for which figures are available; [203818]
16 Dec 2004 : Column 1309W

(4) how much money was spent by his Department on people with asthma and allied disorders in the last year for which figures are available; and what proportion this was of his Department's budget; [203819]

(5) what guidance is issued by his Department to (a) general practices and (b) hospitals about treating patients with asthma and allied disorders. [203820]

(6) what funding has been provided for research by his Department in the last seven years on (a) the causes of asthma and allied disorders and (b) tackling these conditions. [203821]

Dr. Ladyman: Most people with asthma receive an excellent service from their general practitioner, including advice on self-management and, where necessary, appropriate medicines. The GP may also refer patients to hospital for specialist investigation and treatment.

Asthma is the most chronic disease in the United Kingdom. Accurate data for numbers affected are difficult to obtain. From the Office of National Statistics General Practice Database 1996 it was estimated that 6.7 per cent. of men and 6.9 per cent. of women in England and Wales were treated for asthma, about 3.5 million people.

In 2003–04, the last year for which data are available, there were about 13,431,000 first outpatient appointments, 5,448,000 elective hospital admissions and 15,313,000 new accident and emergency attendances at national health service hospitals. In 2002, the last year for which data are available, there were about 241 million appointments with GPs. In addition, patients received advice and, in some cases, treatment in NHS walk-in centres, through NHS Direct and community pharmacies. It is not possible to derive from the estimates how many individuals were involved, or to estimate what proportion of all contacts with the NHS included advice and treatment for a specific condition, or to estimate what proportion of the total NHS budget is involved.

Under the new primary medical care contracting arrangements a unique step has been taken in using indicators and information management across specific chronic disease areas, including asthma, to deliver improved outcomes for patients.

New primary medical care contracting arrangements provide primary care trusts with enormous potential to improve the quality and access to a wider range of services for patients. It centres on a comprehensive quality and outcomes framework. This is like a national service framework, covering the whole of primary care, with substantial financial incentives attached, and constitutes the single biggest investment in quality care in the NHS. Lives will be saved through effective chronic disease management of specific conditions, like heart diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure and asthma.

The main agency through which the Government supports medical and clinical research is the Medical Research Council (MRC). The MRC is an independent body funded by the Department of Trade and Industry via the Office of Science and Technology. The MRC
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spent some £12.6 million on asthma research in the four years from 1999–2000 to 2002–03. Information for the years 1997–98 and 1998–99 is not available.

The Department funds research to support policy and to provide the evidence needed to underpin quality improvement and service development in the NHS. In the six years from 1997–98 to 2003–04, the Department's national research programmes spent £9 million on projects related to asthma.

Over 75 per cent., of the Department's total expenditure on health research is devolved to and managed by NHS organisations. From this funding, the NHS reported spending in support of respiratory diseases as follows:
£ million

This information was not collected centrally prior to 2002.

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